Everything Bethany Joy Lenz Has Said About The Big House Family Cult


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Bethany Joy Lenz
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One Tree Hill alum Bethany Joy Lenz has been candid about her “recovery” after a decade in a cult.

“I was in a cult for 10 years,” Lenz said during a July 2023 episode of her “Drama Queens” podcast, which she cohosts with fellow OTH stars Hilarie Burton Morgan and Sophia Bush. “That would be a really valuable experience to write about, and the recovery — 10 years of recovery after that. So there’s a lot to tell.”

According to Lenz, she wanted to write about her experience despite initial hesitations.

“I don’t know how much I can say because there are still people and legal things in place that make it more complicated for the timing of that,” she added.

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Lenz ultimately did record her thoughts in a memoir, titled Dinner for Vampires, which hits bookstore shelves in October 2024. The name of the cult that Lenz allegedly belonged to was revealed via the book’s synopsis.

One Tree Hill Alum Bethany Joy Lenzs Quotes About Her Involvement in The Big Family House Cult

Bethany Joy Lenz
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

“An only child who often had to fend for herself and always wanted a place to belong, Lenz found the safe haven she’d been searching for in a Bible study group with other Hollywood creatives,” the summary reads on publisher Simon & Schuster’s website. “However, the group soon morphed into something more sinister — a slowly woven web of manipulation, abuse, and fear under the guise of a church covenant called The Big House Family.” (Us Weekly has reached out for comment.)

While few details are known about the organization, the book’s logline notes that Lenz was convinced to marry one of the sons of a “domineering minister,” who allegedly “drained millions of her TV income without her knowledge.” (Lenz was previously married to Michael Galeotti between 2005 and 2012. They share daughter Maria Rose.)

Keep scrolling to find out what else Lenz has said about her cult experience and how she left:

July 2023

“I think the ADHD has made it really difficult over the years to — I have lots of essays and lots of chapters and things,” Lenz said on “Drama Queens” of her desire to write about her past. “But to really commit to putting it all together, I would love to write about my experience.”

Lenz, who fronts the band Everly, noted that she also channeled her emotions on the subject into song.

August 2023

Lenz first got involved with the organization one or two years after she landed the role of Haley James Scott on OTH, which premiered in September 2003. Her experience in the Big House Family was common knowledge to her costars.

One Tree Hill Alum Bethany Joy Lenzs Quotes About Her Involvement in The Big Family House Cult

Bethany Joy Lenz
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for PEOPLE x IHG Hotels and Resorts

“For a while, they were all trying to save me and rescue me, which is lovely and so amazing to be cared about in that way. But I was very stubborn,” she recalled to Variety. “I was really committed to what I believed were the best choices I could make. … The nature of a group like that is isolation; they have to make you distrust everyone around you so that the only people you trust are, first and foremost, the leadership and then, people within the group if the leadership approves of them, and isn’t in the middle of pitting you against each other, which happens all the time also.”

She further told Variety that filming OTH in North Carolina helped her gain a “spatial separation” from the “bible-based cult” that helped her ultimately decide to leave.

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September 2023

Before leaving the Big House Family, Lenz reached her “breaking point.”

“There’s a lot of highs and lots of lows and at some point, you just are like, ‘Can I get off this ride, please? What’s wrong with me? Why am I so up and down all the time?’” she told E! News. “And sometimes it just takes a few people at the right moment saying, ‘It might not be anything wrong with you.’ And that can be a relief.”

Lenz continued, “I had lost a lot of [my faith] along the way. And one of my prayers was just sort of like, ‘You have to just meet me where I am because I don’t even know if I know who you are anymore,’ and that’s how God just kept showing up for me in spite of the fact that I was thrusting a middle finger up in the air and being like, ‘Screw you!’”

October 2023

Lenz revealed on The Tamron Hall Show that she was first drawn to the group for a bible study-type atmosphere.

“That just felt natural and normal to me,” she said. “I grew up stomping around the city. I lived in Jersey and I was an only child and my parents, wonderful people, had their own things going on and … I felt like I didn’t have a huge connection to family or community.”

Lenz, as a result, sought a “place that felt safe” after moving to Los Angeles from New York.

“It seemed really lovely at the top,” she said, before noting that she eventually felt isolated from her OTH costars and her parents. “[But,] I felt like I was being loved. They start to convince you that you’re amazing, you’re wonderful and then they tear you down and start picking at all the little things … until you feel like nothing, and then they start to build you back up again. It’s like, ‘These people love me in spite of the fact that I’m just such a mess.’”

February 2024

She announced her memoir via Instagram, calling the cult “an abusive, high-demand group.”

“Being a writer has been a great, private joy in my life since I was about 12. This isn’t the first book I thought I’d write, publicly, but as difficult as this subject matter is to untangle, I’m grateful I get to share my story my way,” she added. “It’s a story of forgiveness and a roadmap to how manipulation works, with heartache and humor along the way. We all make mistakes and I hope Dinner for Vampires reminds you that, no matter what weird roads you’ve gone down, you’re not alone.”

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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